Chickenpox vaccination will be fully funded from 1 July 2017.3

  • All children born on or after 1 April 2016 will be vaccinated with one dose of Varilrix® at their 15-month visit.3  
  • For previously unvaccinated children turning 11 years old on or after 1 July 2017, who have not previously had a varicella infection, one catch-up dose is available from your GP.3
  • Varilrix is also funded for certain high-risk groups and their contacts.1,3
  • One dose is 86-94% effective against the more severe cases of chickenpox meaning children are very unlikely to end up in hospital but some may get a very mild case of the disease.4
  • For optimal protection, you can purchase a second dose, which gives 97-100% protection against moderate to severe cases as well as improved protection against mild disease.4
  • Varilrix can be given from 9 months of age, either before or after the funded dose so long as there is a 6 week interval between doses.4

If your child doesn’t qualify for the funded vaccine you can still protect them with Varilrix.

If your child was born before April 2016 (i.e. they are older than 15 months on 1 July 2017), they won’t qualify for the funded vaccination until they are 11 years old by which time they will probably have had chickenpox. For children that don’t qualify, Varilrix can be purchased from your doctor.1,3,4

Choosing to vaccinate means your child will avoid potential:

  • Itching, blisters and discomfort 10
  • Long-term scarring of the body from chickenpox blisters 5
  • Hospitalisation 1

Chickenpox vaccines are well established being available in over 95 countries and in use for over 30 years.7,8

About Varilrix – chickenpox vaccine

  • Varilrix is a vaccine that can help prevent chickenpox and can be given from 9 months of age.1
  • It is given by injection in the upper arm.4
  • The vaccine contains a weakened form of the chickenpox virus that works by causing the body to make its own protection (antibodies) against the infection.
  • One dose is 86-94% effective against moderate to severe cases of chickenpox meaning children are very unlikely to end up in hospital but some may get a very mild case of the disease.4
  • For optimal protection, you can purchase a second dose, which gives 97-100% protection against moderate to severe cases as well as improved protection against mild disease.4
  • Children can be vaccinated with Varilrix from 9 months of age and the second dose can be given before or after the funded dose so long as there is an interval of at least 6 weeks between doses.4
  • Varilrix is well-tolerated and can be given to healthy children from the age of 9 months.4
  • It can be given at the same time as any other vaccines.  If a measles, mumps and rubella containing vaccine is not given at the same time as Varilrix, it is recommended that there is an interval of at least one month.4
  • Varilrix has been in worldwide use since 1994.7

What about side effects?

As with any medicine, side effects are possible.  Experience has shown Varilrix is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.4

  • The most common side effects include pain, redness and swelling at the injection site.4
  • An uncommon side effect is fever over 39C, which occurs in 0.1-1% of people.4
  • Another uncommon side effect is a vaccine-related chickenpox rash with a few spots up to 3 weeks after vaccination, occurring in up to 0.1-1% of people.4

Who should not have the vaccine?

  • Women who are currently pregnant. Pregnancy should also be delayed until at least three months after having the vaccine.4
  • Anyone with a fever over 38°C; however, a minor infection should not delay the vaccination.4
  • Anyone with a weakened immune system (e.g. those with leukaemia or lymphoma, or those receiving immunosuppressive treatment – for example, for organ transplant surgery).4
  • Anyone with a known allergy to any component of the vaccine.4

Discuss your expectations with your doctor or practice nurse – they can also help answer any questions or concerns you might have.

Tips for caring for your child after vaccination

Here are some things you can do to help your child feel more comfortable following immunisation:10

  • Don’t let them rub the injection site.
  • Give them lots of cuddles and lots of fluids.
  • If you’re breastfeeding, give them lots of feeds.
  • An ice pack wrapped well in a dry cloth (or better still a cool cloth) can be held over the injection site if it is sore.
  • If your child gets hot, undressing them down to a single layer (for example a singlet and pants) can help.
  • Make sure the room is not too hot or cold.